Biking behind Byrne in Berlin

David Byrne wrote in his Bicycle Diaries:

“I ride my bike along the bike lanes here in Berlin and it all seems very civilized, pleasant, and enlightened. No cars park or drive in the bike lanes, and the cyclists don’t ride on the streets or on the sidewalks either. There are little stoplights just for the bikers, even turn signals! (Cyclists often get to turn a few seconds before the rest of the traffic, to allow them to get out of the way.) Needless to say, most cyclists here do stop for these lights. Pedestrians don’t wander into the bike lanes either! I’m kind of in shock – it all works so well. Why can’t it be like this where I live?”

The last few summers I’ve had the privilege of spending several weeks in Berlin, where I ride a Dahon 6-speed folding bike.

There are a lot of bikes in Berlin.

Normal bikes, modified bikes, home-made bikes…

… and people have creative uses for their bikes, carrying children, cargo, even books.

Kids learn at an early age that the roads are for bikes.

Whenever I cycle in Berlin, I’m struck by some of the simple infrastructure changes we could make here in Toronto to ensure safer cycling. The simplest, cheapest, the very minimum would be off street bike lanes, for example. David Byrne took this photo:


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